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Open letter: Call for continued operation of German nuclear power plants

Updated: Apr 14

Herrn Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz


Willy-Brandt-Straße 1

10557 Berlin


Berlin, April 14, 2023

Dear Chancellor Scholz,

We are among the leading international scientists from various fields of research, including natural, environmental and climate sciences. In view of the threat that climate change poses to life on our planet and the obvious energy crisis in which Germany and Europe find themselves due to the unavailability of Russian natural gas, we call on you to continue operating the last remaining German nuclear power plants.

We welcome the efforts of the German government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Germany, a country of particular economic and political importance in Europe, in accordance with international agreements. However, in 2022, CO2 emission goals were exceeded by 40 million metric tons due to the increased use of coal-fired power plants resulting from the necessary cuts in natural gas consumption; estimates for 2023 assume 38 million metric tons.

The Emsland, Isar II and Neckarwestheim II nuclear power plants supplied a total of 32.7 billion kilowatt hours of low-emission electricity in 2022. German private households most recently consumed an average of 3190 kWh of electrical energy per year. This means that these three power plants can supply more than 10 million, or a quarter, of German households with electricity. The resulting reduction in the amount of electricity required from coal-fired power plants could save up to 30 million tons of CO2 per year.

In the past, other European countries also pursued plans to reduce their nuclear power generation capacities. In recent years, however, many of these countries have taken a different stance on nuclear power due to rising energy costs, which has been exacerbated by the most recent loss of Russian natural gas deliveries. France, the UK, Poland, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, among others, are planning to build new nuclear power plants or are already doing so, while Belgium and Switzerland are seeking to extend the operating licenses of their plants.

We call on you to use the remaining German nuclear power plants in order to alleviate the energy crisis and help achieve Germany’s climate targets

For these reasons, in the interest of the citizens of Germany, Europe and the world, we call on you to reconsider Germany’s plans to phase out nuclear power and to use the remaining German nuclear power plants in order to alleviate the energy crisis and help achieve Germany’s climate targets.

Your leadership position as head of government of the Federal Republic of Germany has a special responsibility in this matter.


The signatories

Prof. Klaus von Klitzing, Nobel Laureate in Physics 1985, Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research

Prof. Steven Chu, Nobel Laureate in Physics 1997, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Prof. James Hansen, climate scientist, Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Prof. Kerry Emanuel, climate scientist, Lorenz Center, MIT

Prof. Pushker Kharecha, climate scientist, Columbia Climate School, Columbia University

Prof. Szymon Malinowski, climate researcher, Institute of Geophysics, University of Warsaw

Prof. Hans von Storch, climate researcher, Institute for Coastal Research, Geesthacht

Prof. Tom Wigley, climate scientist, University of Adelaide

Dr. Eduard Zorita, climate scientist, Institute for Coastal Research Geesthacht

Prof. Cornelius Courts, Institute of Forensic Medicine, University Hospital Cologne

Prof. Wolfgang Dahmen, mathematician, Leibniz Prize winner, RWTH Aachen University

Prof. Markus Fitza, economist, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management

Prof. Gerard Govers, geographer, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven Prof. Thomas Hausmann, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, TU Mittelhessen

Prof. Thomas Hering, economist, Faculty of Economics, Fern-Universität in Hagen

Prof. Maik Huettinger, economics, law and society, ESSCA School of Management

Prof. Alexander Ludwig, economist, Faculty of Economics, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main

Prof. Rainer Maurer, economist, Faculty of Economics and Law, Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences

Dr. Rainer Moormann, co-author, SaveGer6

Prof. Carolyn Porco, planetary scientist, University of Colorado Boulder

Prof. Herbert Roesky, chemist, Leibniz Prize winner, University of Göttingen

Prof. Manuel Sintubin, earth scientist, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven

Prof. André Thess, physicist, University of Stuttgart

Prof. Friedrich Wagner, Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, Munich

Dr. habil. Anna Veronika Wendland, co-author, SaveGer6

This letter is coordinated by RePlanet D-A-CH, a chapter of RePlanet. The letter can be found in German here on RePlanet DACH's website .

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